Portraits in the Countryside Gustave Caillebotte Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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In most of his paintings, Gustave used a soft approach, but this is not to mean that it is his only technique. In this painting, Caillebotte incorporates a laid back domestic scene, with four of his maiden family members enjoying the fresh breeze of a sunny day in the garden. Three of them are busy knitting, while the other one is engrossed in a book.

Right next to the first lady, dressed in blue, on the left side of the portrait, Gustave painted a building with an open window. On the window pane, this artist placed a glass and another object which cannot be seen clearly, but the setting looks as though it is at the back yard, near a kitchen window. The woman in a blue dress seems to be stepping on a stool to support her feet.

The scene has two tables, with each holding a container with different contents. Two appear to be sugar dishes, while the other is a bowl of cherries. He enhances the beauty of the image with the help of a flower garden that is placed straight ahead after the woman on the furthest end. More so, he creates a homely environment through the inclusion of more houses and trees further ahead. Some light illuminating the path goes to show that it is indeed a sunny afternoon in the portrait. A single look at this image will tell you that Gustave used soft and relaxed strokes.

After moving away from his home, Gustave met other painters who had broken away from the academic painters of the day. These individuals were Edgar Degas, Guiseppe De Nittis, and Claude Monet. These were the people that inspired his choice of the art technique. However, his most significant influencer was Leon Bonnat, a famous painter who owned the studio, which Gustave spent most of his early painting days working on art. And while the changing Paris influenced his portraits after industrialization, he did not have a consistent style of painting. As such, his choice of painting regalia always varied depending on his mood. In this particular portrait, however, he used loose brush techniques.

Through his work, Gustave managed to influence several artists during the impressionism and realist movements. These were: Edouard Manet, Gustave Courbet, Honore Daumier and Jean Francois Millet. Apart from these artists, he also influenced Jeff Wall, who was a photographer. Additionally, more artists from this time and beyond employed the use of photographs to capture portraits, thanks to Gustave's influence on the art scene.